Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Unfulfilled promises, wasted tax money, poorly written contracts and unenforceable legislation—Hawaii Legislature Reconvenes
By Sen. Sam Slom @ 4:40 PM :: 2741 Views :: Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Senate Minority Opening Day Remarks – 28th State Legislature, 2016

by State Senator Sam Slom (R ­– 9th District O’ahu), Senate Minority Leader

HONOLULU — Today, Senate Minority Leader Senator Sam Slom delivered the following remarks in his Opening Day address for the first day of the 28th State Legislature:

"Governor Ige, Senate President Kouchi, our Military Men and Women, distinguished guests, and overburdened Hawaii taxpayers, on behalf of the entire Senate Minority: Aloha!

Looking around, I am saddened that we didn’t allow more people to join us on our opening EVERY year; no amount of public celebration should reduce our resolve to work on this day. But this recent “biennium tradition” of curtailing festivities in the even year limits  taxpayers from being with us in the Peoples’ Capitol. I hope we eliminate this “tradition” in the future.

What should the goal be for this election year 2016 Legislative Session?

The Senate Minority’s point of view can be summed up in a word: ACCOUNTABILITY.

The Legislature must be more accountable for unfulfilled promises, wasted tax money, poorly written contracts and unenforceable legislation. The Legislature is accountable for failing to penalize poor performance by government and/or excusing individual bad or corrupt behavior.

We are honored to represent the people of Hawaii and to earn their trust and respect, but we must do a better job of oversight. Especially fiscal oversight. Billions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on our watch because we haven’t held government agencies accountable for delays, waste and mismanagement.

Our $26 billion biennial operating budget is bloated and in deficit. So too our $28 billion unfunded liability. The Senate Minority sponsors the Hawaii Open Budget so you can see the budgets for yourself. We also propose an annual Alternative Operating Budget—our suggestions on how to trim the fat, pay down debt and restore the fiscal health of our government.

While we talk of change, we don’t change. Problems of a decade ago—or even longer— are still problems in Hawaii today: back breaking taxes, homelessness, the high cost of living, diminishing economic diversity, replacing our aging infrastructure, cooling our classrooms, among others.

We seem to be out of touch with reality, making it increasingly difficult to speak out against the cause of problems in Hawaii and to call for change. Yet it must be done. How? Simply stated, we must do a much better job not of making new promises, but of making good on old ones.

Our job is to restore and encourage the public’s confidence in our process, and to be more transparent and accountable ourselves, while empowering our citizens. We have to do more than just make speeches; we need appropriate action. We can do this. We must do this.

The public feels disconnected because we haven’t done the best we can do.

Your Senate Minority continues to believe that Hawaii’s economy has not turned an economic corner despite selected employment and tax data, and that too many of our citizens and small businesses continue to struggle needlessly.

Hawaii holds the distinction of having every major national organization rate Hawaii at or near #1 in the U.S. in homelessness, food stamps, and welfare subsidies per capita while ranking Hawaii #50 (the worst in the U.S.) to operate a small business, for a positive business climate and for residents' inability to save after paying basic necessities.

Hawaii is perceived as being “hostile” to business. We do have a state agency, the Department of Business and Economic Development, now operating as a Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, Housing, Energy, Aerospace, Film, Art and Culture, Affordable Housing, Loans and Climate Change. There is no focused business advocate in Hawaii government that advocates for tax and regulatory relief to really help local business.

Senator Daniel Inouye promised the sugar industry would never fail. But we lost him three years ago. This year, we will lose sugar and previously successful diversified ag on the Neighbor Islands. Suggested use of those lands? Marijuana. Really? Do we really want Hawaii known for drug production, or should we expand into meaningful options like industrial hemp products which include food, textiles, building materials and other productive economic goods?

Will the plunder of prime agricultural lands continue on O’ahu? More congestion? Government action makes these projects possible.

Worse still, Hawaii has a reputation of not honoring its contractual commitments. Latest example: the Thirty Meter Telescope. Hawaii beat out worldwide competition to build the most powerful instrument of discovery and exploration, yet the project is now on hold. We need clear, decisive action to honor the TMT contract and get it built.

How many promises have already been broken, and are yet to be broken, on the off schedule, off budget originally $2.7 billion (now nearly $7 billion) O’ahu rail transit boondoggle? The Legislature made this never ending drain on taxes possible and is an enabler to the biggest and worst public project in Hawaii’s history. There is no accountability, while roads, sewers and water delivery continue to break down.

At this time last year, we worried that more than 20,000 of our active duty Army and 30,000 dependents—which we too often take for granted or criticize—might leave Hawaii causing more than $1 billion in economic loss. Our military is more than dollars; our fighting men and women contribute to all of our society, all the time. We dodged a bullet but we must improve our business climate and diversify by listening to those who have the proven ability to create jobs.

The Public Utilities Commission will shortly rule on the $4.3 billion takeover of Hawaiian Electric by Florida-based NextEra. As hard as we try, we cannot find significant benefits for Hawaii rate payers from this action; just more non-competitive monopoly.

As we have said in the past, the Hawaii Health Connector wasted more than $150 million dollars without improving health care. The “affordable” was taken out of the Affordable Care Act by boosting individual insurance premiums by as much as 40% for insurance companies to recover their share of the cost of this failed system. Millions more are being spent on the “transition” to the Federal exchange. It should receive no more state taxpayer funds.

We must continue to be compassionate, but not foolish, in helping the truly needy, while dealing firmly with those who prey on others and game the system. Stopping fraud is key.

We must increase our local residents’ standard of living by reducing their burdensome costs. We begin by eliminating the GET on food and medicine.

WE MUST PROMISE NO NEW TAXES! We need to call for federal affordable cargo shipping reform of the Jones Act, joining with like-minded lawmakers in Alaska, Guam and Puerto Rico.

Your Senate Minority offers a thoughtful, effective 5 point Action Agenda for 2016 including accountability for millions of dollars the state intends to spend on technology modernization.

On behalf of the Senate Minority, I pledge continued efforts to support good legislation, regardless of who introduces it; to examine and report honestly on the financial and policy impact of all bills, and to work toward ending Legislative exemptions for ourselves on laws we pass on to others.

We celebrate our God-given liberty, and our ability to change. We seek a “Better Day.” Working for a brighter, better future for Hawaii is not a partisan issue. Together, we must navigate a smarter course with a vision of how much greater Hawaii can be.

God Bless Hawaii, our Armed Forces, and the United States of America.

Aloha!"

# # # # #

About the Hawaii Senate Minority

Senator Samuel M. Slom has represented Hawaii’s 9th senatorial district since 1996.  The lone Republican in the Hawaii State Senate, Slom is presently the only single-member caucus in any legislature in the United States.  Slom serves on all Senate committees, sub-committees and special committees, is minority leader and floor leader, and is Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Environment and Technology.  For further information on Senator Slom and the Hawaii Senate Minority, visit www.hawaii-senateminority.com.

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT